Conservative Conference goes on lockdown amid security risk
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Andrew Marr has described the atmosphere of the Tory Party Conference as having “the stench of death” as Liz Truss struggles to push through her plan for growth without, it appears, the requisite parliamentary majority. As Tory rebels, emboldened by the success of ensuring the Prime Minister reverse her decision on the top tax bracket, look to force her hand again regarding benefit rates, Andrew Marr noted how the chaos that is being caused at the conference is not even coming from Ms Truss’ “real opponents” because they have “stayed at home”. The political commentator also said the messages about the new PM from Tory MPs were too rude to say on live radio as senior lawmakers said the incumbent Cabinet was devoid of “competent management”.
Mr Ferrari said: “The smell of burning rubber from that screeching u-turn the other night has now disseminated.”
Mr Marr said: “And it is now choking everybody in the bars and coffee bars here, Nick. And it is not just that. The real question is, is this the great unravelling of much more?
“In almost every area that you look at, whether that’s benefit cuts, environmental changes, whether it is planning or fracking, you are seeing the beginnings of u-turns.
“And the reason is, she has got her big agenda, she has got her growth agenda, but what she does not have, it appears, is the parliamentary majority for it.
“People are sharing messages from other members of the Party and so on. I cannot really repeat on morning wireless what people are saying without breaking into fluent Anglosaxon, which I won’t do.
“But I remember the omnishambles budget of 2012, that was the word that came into the lexicon, I think from The Thick of It, and people started talking about omnishambles.
“This is kind of an omnishambles in multiple different directions. It is absolutely extraordinary. I have never seen a conference dissolve quite like this one.
“It feels fatal, certainly phrases like the stench of death and the death spiral are being talked about again and again by level-headed people. And don’t forget the real opponents of Liz Truss in the Conservative Party are not even here, they have stayed at home.”
Liz Truss had hoped her governing Conservative Party’s annual conference would be her crowning glory, but instead she was forced into a humiliating U-turn that has left her, and her team, fighting for credibility.
After less than a month in the job, Ms Truss’s reversal on Monday of a decision to scrap Britain’s highest rate of income tax has left her open to criticism that she is not only poorly advised but was also badly advertised as a woman who stood by her word.
The about-turn came less than 24 hours after Truss had defended a policy to cut the top 45 percent tax rate that triggered warnings from her lawmakers that she was at risk of losing any future election by reviving the moniker of the “nasty party”.
Ms Truss, in Birmingham this week with other Conservative lawmakers for the party’s annual conference, said both she and her Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng had listened to those voices.
But some at the conference doubted whether she could now command authority over future policy challenges before an election due in 2024.
“Would I have done it? Absolutely not,” said Ben Houchen, the Conservative mayor of Tees Valley in northeast England.
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“Actually, it has taken us back in the minds of many people in the public of the journey that the Conservatives have been on in the last 15-20 years,” he said, referring to 2002 when Theresa May, who went on to become prime minister, said the party was known by many voters as the “nasty party”.
With opinion polls putting the Conservatives at risk of being all but crushed in the next election by the main opposition Labour Party, others were blunter, pointing criticism at her cabinet team of senior ministers, or at her advisers.
“It was inevitable. But … it underlines the need for senior people around the cabinet table,” said one Conservative lawmaker on condition of anonymity.
Another said: “It’s a new team who don’t know what they are doing and which doesn’t allow for competent management of Downing Street, let alone anything bold or out of the ordinary.”
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